A report on a special lecture, AI × Creativity, (see flash report here). This piece will outline a talk on the theme of The Essence of Creativity and the Key to Innovation by AI by Satoshi Kurihara. (Dr. Kurihara is a professor of graduate studies in Information Science and Technology at the University of Electro-Communications, and the head of the Artificial Intelligence eXploration Research Center.)
■ What Structures Give Rise to Creativity?
I’d like to explain my thoughts about how we can create innovation in Artificial Intelligence.
The little circles in this picture represent the materials of knowledge and ideas. I think that creativity comes from connecting these materials, point by point. And if we think of the blue ameba-like portion of the image as the domain of the power of imagination, then the connections are being made within that realm of imagination. This is what is regularly happening within our brains.
Of course, different people have different limits on how far their imaginations stretch. Let’s say the picture on the left here represents the average person’s imagination.
In contrast, let’s say that the people with high creative ability, the innovators, have a broader realm of creativity, as in the picture on the right. Because of this, they have a wider perspective and make effective connections more organically. Because they’ve got a wider area to work with, they make more and more connections, even connecting two different areas and bringing forth entirely new ideas. We can call the ideas being formed on this level ‘innovations.’ This is what I mean when I say the essence of creativity.
To bring it all together, first of all I think making the connections themselves is hugely important. There are tons of ideas and tons of information out there. Just having them doesn’t mean you can link them together. The key is whether you’ll be able to draw connections where there are none.
Looking at those connections from a birds’s eye view, supposing a structure like the one in this picture, we can start to explain what’s happening. Usually, when we create something, we imagine the thing we want to create. For example, if we want to make a car, we might think to ourselves that we’ll need an engine, body, and tires. You could call this kind of conceptualization the top-down type. This is the basic approach to creation.
In contrast to that, the approach to creation I described before is completely different. Our bodies are full of cells, and those cells come together to make organs, which come together to form our bodies. Creativity is the same. As long as the makings of ideas are there, those materials can come together to create wholly new ideas. This is the bottom-up method of imagination. If AI can become able to form ideas in this manner, I believe it will be able to create ideas that surpass what humanity has been able to concieve of before.
And in today’s world, the materials for this creativity are all around us. The information flowing through social networks is an example of this. By combining the materials (information) on these network, it might be possible to come up with entirely new ideas.
■ Autonomy will be the Beginning
There’s one more point to creating AI that has the potential to exceed human creativity: autonomy.
In Atom: The Beginning, there’s a scene with a runaway truck. The robot A106 (Pronounced ‘A-Ten-Six’) throws his fellow passenger out of the vehicle and rolls the truck he’s now driving onto its’ side, preventing a much more terrible accident. The important point here is that in order to save human lives, A106 came up with the idea to roll the truck onto its’ side on his own. He acted autonomously, in other words. Currently, humans are the only ones who can make these kinds of decisions.
■ Can AI be Creative?
At the beginning of this conference, Osamu Tezuka talked about four points which are necessary for creativity (ideas, technique, emotion, and judgement), and I’d like to expand on those a bit in my own way.
First of all, to answer the question of whether AI is capable of generating ideas: as I spoke of earlier, ideas lie in creating connections between the raw materials of the mind, and research in this area is progressing, so I would say, ‘Yes.’
Next is technique. I think we can rephrase this as “learning an artist’s individuality,” and I believe we may need to rely on a new type of AI (Artificial General Intelligence, or AGI), such as Dr. Matsuhara spoke of
Finally, emotion and judgement. This is very closely related to the autonomy I just mentioned, but the crucial element is how do you decide in the moment (judgement) to take action in pursuit of a larger goal? In this sense, autonomy is also a crucial part of Osamu Tezuka’s process for creating a new work, I imagine.
Such autonomous AI isn’t something we’ll be able to develop immediately, but I think we’re looking at taking our first steps down that path in the surprisingly near future, perhaps within 3-5 years.
The next and final lecture outline we’ll bring you is by Hiroshi Yamakawa, head of the Dwango Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and the chair of the nonprofit Whole Brain Architecture Initiative, on the topic of Artificial Minds and Creativity.
■ Content Tokyo Special Lectures: AI × Creativity, related articles (4 articles)
・【Article 1】 Flash Report～Could AI Bring the Works of Osamu Tezuka into Reality?～
・【Article 2】Dr. Matsubara Hitoshi, Lecture Report～Artificial Intelligence and Creativity～
・【Article 3】Report on Satoshi Kurihara’s Talk～ The Essence of Creativity and the Key to Innovation by AI ～
・【Article 4】Report on Hiroshi Yamakawa’s Talk～Artificial Minds and Creativity～
*Osamu Tezuka’s Digital Clone Project
In Atom: The Beginning, the Nerima University Lab 7 is the laboratory of the young Drs. Tenma and Ochanomizu, later to go on to create Atom. This project aims to create such a place in reality, starting with actual AI researchers, and aiming to develop an Osamu Tezuka Digital Clone AI, a creative AI entity which could help creators with their work.
For inquiries, please contact:
*The anime series Atom: The Beginning airs on NHK every Saturday at 11:00pm!
*This comic is currently being serialized in the monthly comic magazine Heros, and six separate volumes are now for sale!
*FRI supports Atom: The Beginning, Content Tokyo’s special lecture, and the Osamu Tezuka Digital Clone Project.